Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Pope's resignation shocking move in quiet career

English
© ANSA

Rome, February 11 - The stunning resignation of
Pope Benedict XVI which shocked the world on Monday seemed out
of character for a cleric whose career has been marked by a
cautious, conservative approach.
Benedict, who is 85, announced that because of his failing
health he would step aside on February 28 so that a council of
cardinals could meet in mid-March to choose his successor.
Although his health has been a concern for some time, the
abruptness of the announcement by Benedict, the former cardinal
Joseph Ratzinger, stunned the world.
Since he was elected on April 19, 2005, Benedict has
steered a steady, strongly conservative course for the Catholic
Church despite loud protests from reformers.
Yet he was also willing to take advantage of new
technologies, becoming the first pope to have his own Twitter
account, which was followed by almost three million soon after
it was launched late last year.
The German-born cleric, who rose through the Vatican ranks
as a hard-core conservative, stood in a dramatic contrast to his
charismatic predecessor Pope John Paul II.
Benedict, the son of a Bavarian police officer, belied his
mild demeanour by reaffirming resistance to non-believers and a
secular society.
He drew enormous criticism over a 2001 directive when, as
head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, Cardinal Ratzinger said that sex-abuse investigations
should be kept in-house.
The Catholic Church is still reeling from the fallout of
the clerical abuse scandals that came to light under Benedict's
papacy after years of being hidden by Church officials.
Although the Pope eventually apologized for the abuse and
met with victims, the Church remained branded for having
shielded priests accused of molesting youngsters and hiding bad
behaviour which in turn, prevented criminal prosecutions.
More recently, Benedict has repeatedly pledged to root out
abuse although victims' groups have said they were waiting to
see "more concrete" actions on the abuse, which occurred in the
United States, Australia, and across Europe including Germany
and Italy.
Benedict's efforts to protect the Church from scandal
appeared to be consistent with his well-known belief that
Catholicism is the "true" faith while other religions are
deficient and that the modern, secular world, especially in
Europe, is spiritually weak.
He also created controversy with the Islamic world when in
2006 he quoted an ancient emperor's attack on Islam as 'evil and
inhuman,' igniting protests among Muslims worldwide.
Benedict also stuck to conservative lines on homosexuality,
the ordination of female priests and stem-cell research,
disappointing Catholic liberals.

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